The Power of Words

UK and UNDP bring Georgian and Ossetian scholars together to celebrate Caucasian culture through the ages

November 2, 2022

The Power of Words

Melancholy verses by Nikoloz Baratashvili, rebellious poems by Kosta Khetagurov, the beauty of folk songs, and the wisdom of medieval epos – this wealth of poetry and folklore is now available in Georgian and Ossetian languages thanks to the joint work of scholars in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali.

An impressive collection of books was presented to the public on 2 November at an artistic event “The Power of Words” organised by the civil society organization “Caucasian Mosaic” with support from the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A set of publications includes:

  • Anthologies of Georgian and Ossetian poetry with over 380 poems translated into both languages,
  • Illustrated Georgian-Ossetian and Ossetian-Georgian dictionaries for children with more than 300 words, and
  • A research paper on the role of women in Caucasian folklore.

At the event, H.E. Mark Clayton, British Ambassador to Georgia, and Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia, addressed the audience with welcome remarks. “Caucasian Mosaic” representatives Naira Bepievi and Nino Popiashvili presented the joint work of Georgian and Ossetian researchers. Well-known actors Lili Khuriti and Tinatin Kobaladze recited immortal stanzas by Shota Rustaveli and a beautiful poem allegedly written by the 11th-century Georgian Queen Borena who by birth belonged to the Ossetian royal family.

“The UK is proud to support Georgian and Ossetian scholars in their joint effort to study the historic and cultural heritage of the Caucasus and introduce it to young people."
H.E. Mark Clayton, British Ambassador to Georgia
“Through our languages, literature and poetry we celebrate the beauty and diversity of our heritage. At UNDP, we are proud to work with the UK Government to support scholars and researchers to preserve and popularize the treasures of Georgian and Ossetian literature."
Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia

Along with its historic and cultural value, the joint work of Georgian and Ossetian researchers marks a 10-year-long collaboration focused on the history and culture of the Caucasus. The partnership produced Georgian and Ossetian editions of the ancient “Nart Sagas” mythology collection; Georgian-Ossetian and Ossetian-Georgian dictionaries with over 22,000 words explained, translated and commented on by linguists; an encyclopaedic album summarizing Georgian-Ossetian relations before the 19th century; and theatrical performances in Georgian and Ossetian.

The team of experts on Caucasian languages, history, literature and folklore brought together by “Caucasian Mosaic” was supported by the European Union (EU), the UK and UNDP through their Confidence Building Early Response Mechanism (COBERM).

Designed to build confidence between conflict-divided communities, COBERM works with civil society organizations on all sides of the conflict to address some key confidence-building areas, such as healthcare, youth education, people-centred diplomacy, cultural cooperation, minority rights, gender equality, and environmental protection. Since its start in 2010, COBERM has supported over 200 initiatives, contributing to developing new approaches to peace and confidence building.

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